WHO says pandemic has caused more ‘mass trauma’ than WWII

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) speaks after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases throughout the 148th session of the Executive Board on the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, January 21, 2021.

Christopher Black | WHO | by way of Reuters

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused mass trauma on a bigger scale than World War II, and the influence will final “for many years to come,” the World Health Organization’s high official mentioned Friday.

“After the Second World War, the world has experienced mass trauma, because Second World War affected many, many lives. And now, even with this Covid pandemic, with bigger magnitude, more lives have been affected,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned at a information convention Friday. “Almost the whole world is affected, each and every individual on the surface of the world actually has been affected.”

“And that means mass trauma, which is beyond proportion, even bigger than what the world experienced after the Second World War,” he added, noting the impact on psychological well being. “And when there is mass trauma, it affects communities for many years to come.”

His feedback got here in response to a query about whether or not international locations ought to take the pandemic’s influence on the financial system and psychological well being into consideration more as they chart their paths ahead. Tedros’ deputies emphasised that psychological well being should be prioritized.

“The answer is absolutely yes,” Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s rising ailments and zoonosis unit, mentioned. “There are variations in terms of the impact that this has had on individuals, whether you have lost a loved one, or a family member or friend to this virus. Whether you’ve lost your job, children who haven’t been in school, people who are forced to stay home in very difficult situations.”

Kerkhove added that the world continues to be within the “acute phase” of the pandemic, when the virus is tearing via communities, killing tens of hundreds each week. She added, although, that the psychological well being toll of the pandemic will emerge as a significant difficulty in the long run, saying that “there needs to be a lot more emphasis by governments, by communities, by families, by individuals to look after our well-being.”

Dr. Mike Ryan, government director of the WHO’s well being emergencies program, urged individuals to not simply spotlight the psychological well being toll of the pandemic as an issue, however to additionally talk about options.

“It’s one thing to say that mental health is and psychological health is under pressure — that’s true — but also the opposite of that has to be what we’re doing to support and provide psychosocial support to people and communities,” he mentioned.

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